Siegfried, the dragon slayer and “strongest hero”, Siegfried who never knew his parents, is murdered by Hagen. Brünnhilde looks on. As he dies, Siegfried thinks back to his youth. – Far away from civilisation, he grew up under the care of Mime. The older he grows, the more pressing the question of his identity becomes for Siegfried. In the end he forces Mime to tell him about his true parents: Sieglinde and Siegmund met each other in appalling circumstances. She had been forced to marry Hunding and was very unhappy, while he was on the run and in mortal danger. Magically drawn to one another, they secretly discovered their shared history: they are twins, children of Wotan, who had been separated as infants. They rapturously declare their love for one another. As they fled from Hunding, the valkyrie Brünnhilde wanted to shelter Siegmund and Sieglinde, who was now with child. But Wotan, with heavy heart, decided that Hunding should win the battle and caused Siegmund’s sword to shatter. Brünnhilde was only able to save Sieglinde who, as she later lay dying, entrusted her child to Mime’s care.
Now that he knows his parentage, Siegfried wants to make his way in the world. He defeats the dragon Fafner. From the treasure of the Nibelungs that the dragon guarded he takes only the Tarnhelm and the ring. When Siegfried sees through Mime’s treacherous plans to obtain gold and power by using him, he kills his foster father. Without recognising him, Siegfried encounters Wotan, his grandfather, who is dressed as a wanderer and is still pursuing his master plan to regain world domination and the treasure. Wotan tries to stop Siegfried from going on, but Siegfried rebels against the “old man”; he is in a hurry to find “the most splendid woman Brünnhilde”. Together, Brünnhilde and Siegfried discover love. A brief moment of utopia.
Scenes from The Valkyrie are interwoven in the story of Siegfried’s development, who even as a member of the third generation cannot escape the deadly structures and continues the eternal cycle of violence.